Forming and maintaining relationships is a critical element to a happy and healthy life. However, this is not as easy for some as it is for others. ADHD is commonly thought of as the “can’t sit still disorder” and is often associated with hyperactive, prepubescent boys. However, this is simply not the case. Many girls around the world have ADHD, and experience the difficulties caused by ADHD in romantic and platonic relationships. ADHD commonly manifests in girls as inattentiveness, impulsivity, disorganization, forgetfulness, as well as trouble with time management. Experiencing these symptoms, and being unable to control them does not make relationships easy.
One of the hardest things about ADHD is watching people around you effortlessly accomplish what you struggle to complete. If you’re in high school or college, you have probably watched your peers naturally form new relationships while you attempt to keep up. For instance, ADHD directly affects how social cues are perceived. This means that picking up on when someone wants to be left alone, or being able to read someone’s nonverbal cues becomes incredibly difficult. This may hinder casual social transactions, and can lead to bigger problems in friendships or romantic relationships. For example, if your friend or significant other is upset, being able to tell if they need comfort or support is a major challenge. This lapse in understanding can quickly devolve into emotional disconnect, arguments, and disagreements.
The memory issues that can occur due to ADHD lead to forgotten plans, birthdays, and misplaced items. Poor memory can often lead to poor time management. In terms of a relationship, this could mean being late to plans or even forgetting about them all together.
Now I know what you must be thinking. I have ADHD, if these are just some of the issues that come with the disorder, how am I ever supposed to have meaningful relationships? Don’t worry, it isn’t a lost cause! You deserve friendship and love, and ADHD can’t stop that. Below, I’ve listed a few tips to successfully navigate these ADHD-related problems.1. Remember It’s Okay
First and foremost, know that it is okay that your brain functions a bit differently than others around you. This doesn’t make you weird, freaky or less than any who’s brain works in the typical way. Learning to love yourself is the first step to forming strong, resilient relationships.2. Communication, Communication, Communication
When navigating relationships, communication is so important. Being able to communicate with your friends or significant other will lessen the chance of an argument or misunderstanding. Even if you are not able to articulate exactly what you may want or need at that moment, it will still help the situation. This also goes for the other person(s) in your relationships. If they know that you have trouble reading certain cues, they can work on making them more apparent.3. Sometimes it’s 50/50, sometimes it’s 60/40
Some days are going to be harder than others. If you find yourself struggling, it’s okay to not be as chatty or as avid of a texter. Work with your friends or significant other to find ways of expressing your feelings in a positive way so that they can meet you where you’re at.
ADHD is not a death sentence for relationships. At the end of the day, your partner or friend will love you for your unique and brilliant qualities. ADHD is just a little sprinkle on top of your delicious personality. Don’t be afraid to embrace who you are, unapologetically!
Written by: Alexa Rosenberger